An excerpt from a very good essay about The Relationship Revolution by Michael Schrage:
If technology has been changing relationships as long as human beings have been creating technologies, what’s the special significance of this new generation of digital technologies? Why are we now in the midst of a relationship revolution, rather than just further evolution?
Primarily because these technologies do more than create new kinds of networks, they’ve created new kinds of networks between networks. What is the Internet but a network of networks? What are companies like Federal Express and Visa and American Airlines but organizations that connect physical networks to digital networks to human networks to create new forms of economic value? New kinds of relationships between networks create new kinds of relationships between people. That is the essential tension of the revolution taking place. Along every meaningful dimension, these technologies permit individuals and institutions alike to sculpt new facets of interaction. Intimacy, anonymity, trust, openness, access, passion, negotiation, hierarchy, coordination and collaboration can all be mediated, monitored and managed via networks ostensibly designed to carry bits.